Real Leaders

The Only 3 Meetings You’ll Ever Need

By Scot Chisholm

I’ve been a founder and CEO for nearly 20 years, and I’ve read countless books on management and leadership. My conclusion? Most meetings are a waste of time and money — but there are three meetings you shouldn’t operate without.

1 All-Hands Meeting

This is your most important meeting. Don’t waste it.

Who: Include everyone on the team. No one should be left out.

Why: It aligns the entire team on direction and progress.

When: Convene monthly (one hour) or quarterly (two hours).


Where you’re going: Find ways to talk about the longer-term vision and goals.

How you’re doing: Share progress against monthly, quarterly, and annual goals.

Why it matters: A customer story shows the impact you’re having. A team member demonstrates your values.

2 Top-Goal(s) Meeting

Schedule a meeting to review progress against your annual goals (three maximum). You can also break it up into three separate meetings.

Who: Invite key people who are responsible for the goal (fewer than seven).

Why: It tracks progress against your top three most important items.

When: Meet biweekly (one hour per goal).


How you’re doing: Each goal should have one main owner who leads the update to the group. 

If you’re behind: Dedicate the meeting to creating a plan to get back on track.

If you’re ahead: Talk about upcoming risks and how to mitigate early –– or just end the meeting early.

3 One-on-One Meeting

Plan a meeting with each person on your team. If you have a large team, it’s only with your direct reports.

Who: Have just you and the person.

Why: It tracks progress against individual goals and offers help.

When: Meet biweekly, or weekly if you feel it’s necessary (30 minutes to one hour).


How you’re doing: The person should start by giving an update on their goals.

If they’re behind: Offer help. Create a plan together in the meeting to get back on track.

If they’re on pace: Use the time for other items, but let the person set the agenda.

Scot Chisholm founded software company Classy (acquired by GoFundMe), serving as CEO for over 10 years and leading it to 300+ people and billions in platform donations. More recently he founded Haskill Creek, a new spin on the traditional pharmacy. He coaches founders/CEOs, helping them transition to high-impact leaders.